Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Charles Carver

Charles Carver


Professor Charles (Chuck) Carver died on June 22, 2019, in Miami, Florida. Social Psychology Network is maintaining this profile for visitors who wish to learn more about Professor Carver's work.

Please see below for more information:

Most of my work is associated in one fashion or other with the phrase "self-regulation." I think of human beings as complex goal-directed systems that self-regulate their actions with respect to those goals. Sometimes people have to juggle multiple goals that aren't entirely compatible with one another. Sometimes people encounter difficulty in moving toward their goals, and they have to decide how to respond to those difficulties. These kinds of problems raise issues about how to understand both effective and ineffective self-regulation. One important assumption in this view is that people who are confident are more persistent in their struggles than people who are doubtful. This assumption provides the basis for a somewhat separate (though obviously related) line of research on optimism.

Since 1985, I have examined the personality dimension of optimism versus pessimism, which we conceptualize in terms of generalized expectancies concerning important future outcomes. This dimension has proven to have implications for the manner in which people cope with stressful experiences, and the success with which they cope. Some of the optimism research I have been involved in falls in the domain of health psychology (e.g., studies of breast cancer patients). Some of it focuses more on with the inner workings of the minds of optimists and pessimists. Some of it concerns relations between optimism and other constructs in personality psychology. I continue to be interested in places where this difference between people makes a difference in how they think, act, and are responded to by others.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Health Psychology
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity

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